These young bats might be years away from the majors, but they're worthy of your dynasty-league attention.
Around this time last year, I started taking a look at prospects whose early-season performance had their dynasty stocks on the rise. While it’s awfully early to be diving into minor league stat lines, it’s not an exercise completely devoid of merit. You may well miss more than you hit, but last year’s early-June leaderboard mining revealed prospects such as Jacob Nottingham, Trey Mancini, and Cody Reed as prospects whose value was changing dramatically.
I hope it goes without saying that you should always try to pair stat line scouting with actual reports if you can find the information. To that end, you should definitely be reading the amazing work done by our prospect team: daily minor league updates, Monday morning ten packs, eyewitness accounts, notes from the field, chats, mailbag Q&A’s. It’s quite staggering how prolific they are as a unit, and how much my dynasty game has improved by soaking it all in.
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Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, including Jacob Faria, Daniel Gossett, Adam Brett Walker, Mike Yastrzemski, and Dwight Smith.
Prospect of the Weekend:
Jacob Faria, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K.
Command has been an issue for Faria in 2016, but it certainly wasn’t an issue on Saturday. When everything is clicking, he’ll show two plus pitches in his fastball and change, and the curveball is a fringe-average offering with enough depth to keep hitters honest. He doesn’t have the upside of some of the other big names in the Rays’ system, but assuming he throws enough strikes, he has a great chance of pitching in the back of someone’s rotation for a long time.
Putting the Twins' top pitching prospect's disaster start in perspective.
Monday night I tuned into the Twins-Tigers game, in part because I'm a glutton for punishment with a Pavlovian need to watch Twins games no matter how bad things get, but also because top prospect Jose Berrios was making his fourth career start. I was excited, or at least as excited as baseball fans in Minnesota get these days. Berrios' first three starts weren't great, but his previous outing was encouraging enough to make me think perhaps the 21-year-old former first-round pick was ready to become a full-time member of the rotation for the next decade or so.
He wasn't. Actually, whatever the opposite of that is, he was ready to do that and only that. Berrios failed to make it out of the first inning, recording two outs while allowing seven runs. First-inning knockouts have always fascinated me. It’s like showing up to your office, spilling coffee down the front of your shirt, slipping and falling on the wet floor beneath you, knocking over a filing cabinet in the process, and then being asked to go home by your boss. Not only did you embarrass yourself in front of co-workers, now they’re all watching you exit in shame. It’s made even worse by knowing that everyone else has to keep working for the rest of the day.
Twins manager Paul Molitor came out to remove Berrios following a bases-loaded double by light-hitting shortstop Jose Iglesias, and their limited interaction had a "put him out of his misery" vibe. Shortly after the game--which the Twins came back to tie at 8-8 before losing, thus providing their fans with the maximum possible pain--Berrios was demoted to Triple-A. There he joins fellow top prospect Byron Buxton, who began the season as the Twins' starting center fielder before being demoted to Triple-A three weeks later after hitting .156 in 17 games.
Buxton ranked No. 2 overall on our top-101 prospect list and Berrios was No. 17, so in addition to all the losing happening in Minnesota it's getting increasingly difficult to convince people here that prospects are worth believing in. I'm still a big believer in Berrios (and Buxton too), but his disastrous start Monday did give me some pause, in that it got me wondering how often a prospect as young and as highly touted as Berrios has ever been that helpless on a mound. My hope was that it actually happens quite a bit, and better yet happens quite a bit to prospects who go on to become amazing pitchers. But... well, it doesn't.
Here's the complete list of pitchers since 1995 who've been knocked out of a start in the first inning while allowing seven or more runs before turning 22 years old:
Recapping the moves made in the TGDX experts dynasty league this week.
Welcome to another installment of TDGX Transactions, BP’s weekly series providing fantasy owners with an inside look at The Dynasty Guru Experts League (TDGX), a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league. It is the literal embodiment of the phrase “deep dynasty.” It’s also populated by some of the most talented fantasy baseball analysts and competitors on the planet. In addition to taking an in-depth look at each week’s TDGX free agent acquisitions ($100 FAAB budget per team with zero dollar bids allowed) we will also break down every major trade, with perspectives from both sides of the deal.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Tim Anderson, Josh Naylor, Sandy Alcantara, and Nick Travieso.
Prospect of the Day:
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 3-5, R, K, SB.
After a slow start to the season Anderson has been en fuego of late, yesterday logging his seventh multi-hit game in his last 10. The strikeout-to-walk ratio remains egregious, but he’s making pitchers four years older than him pay for coming into the zone right now. With Jimmy Rollins continuing to scuffle on the South Side we’re kind of starting to get into that range where maybe, just maybe, the kid earns himself a shot in spite of the still-rough edges to his game.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Jameson Taillon, Tim Anderson, Sam Howard, Andrew Thurman, and Sam Travis.
Prospect of the Weekend:
Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 K.
The report I received on Taillon was that he actually struggled to locate all of his secondary pitches over the first couple of innings, but boy did that change in a hurry. He’s missing bats with his entire arsenal, and he’s been so efficient that he’s been able to get deep into games. I imagine the Pirates will turn to Tyler Glasnow first—and they should—but Taillon is ready to go, and after what he went through last year, that’s awesome to say.